Stateline, NV (November 12, 2009) – There are no clocks in poker rooms, and with good reason. The game absorbs those who play it, making real-world time seem irrelevant.
While most of the Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Casino was empty on this late Thursday night-early Friday morning, and as vacuum cleaners were being pushed around gaming tables and slot machines, a crusty group of determined Pot-Limit Omaha players sat around one lone poker table and battled for more than five long hours before the victor was finally determined at 4:10 am.
The winner was Ty Rundquist, from Port Orchard, WA. He won his first major live tournament, which was part of a negotiated deal with the runner-up, Vinh Do. The two finalists played heads-up for 45 minutes before coming to the conclusion that it might be best to chop up the money rather than play out the game in what could have been an ending past sunrise.
Rundquist won first-place prize money officially totaling $5,355, plus his first WSOP Circuit title. He is a 27-year-old part-time poker player who owns his own landscaping business. Rundquist is originally from Torrence, CA.
It was his final adversary, Vinh Do that dominated play during most of the four-hour final table. Do began his run slightly above average in chips. But by the time play became six-handed, Do held about 40 percent of the total chips in play. However, Do lost a few key hands which prolonged the outcome and encouraged his opponents to remain patient. Accordingly, the final table dragged on until past 4 am when the two battle-weary competitors finally agreed to a deal.
The $300 (+40) buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament attracted a modest-sized field of 40 entries, generating $11,640 in prize money. The top five finishers collected payouts. All the action took place over a one-day period inside the Harvey’s Lake Tahoe poker room and special events area. This is the only WSOP Circuit stop this year held in Northern Nevada.
When heads-up play began, Vinh Do enjoyed about a 4 to 1 chip lead over Ty Rundquist. But the young gun won a key hand late where he rivered a straight – catching one of four outs to win. A few hands later, Rundquist seized the chip lead for the first time. At that point, the deal was crafted.
The runner up was Vinh Do, a Laotian-born network engineer who now lives in Eagle Mountain, UT. Do was somewhat reluctant to make a deal, since he dominated play as much as any player possible, without actually closing out a victory.
Third place went to Mark Bonsack, a veteran of several tournament final tables, including successful runs in Lake Tahoe. Bonsack finally ran out of steam close to 4 am and ended up with a disappointing finish. Bonsack, a 49-year-old contractor from Maple Valley, WA now has three WSOP cashes, plus 6 WSOP Circuit cashes -- including a third-place finish in the Lake Tahoe Main Event in 2007.
The fourth-place finisher was Kevin Phillips, from Woodland, CA. He is a 34-year-old agricultural professional. Phillips lasted until he finally ran out of momentum and chips late in the tournament, ultimately losing to Ty Rundquist’s heart flush.
Dave Costain, from St. Clairsville, OH, took fifth place. He finally went bust at 3 am, losing to Vinh Do’s jack-high straight. Costain won a gold ring last year’s WSOP Circuit played at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe. He also cashed twice at the most recent Circuit event held in Southern Indiana.
Non-cashers who made it to the final table included – 10th Place--Don Aylor (San Antonio, TX), 9th Place—Levi Hull (Bakersfield, CA), 8th Place—John “Bruno” Wolfe (McCloud, CA), 7th Place—Bill Eichen (Palo Alto, CA), and 6th Place—Ron Ware (Discovery Bay, CA). Appropriately, the unfortunate player who was subjected to a bubble finish (Ware) is nicknamed “Grumpy.” He had a lot of fresh material to work with following his frustrating ten-hour non-cash in this event.
With 15 events now completed at this year’s WSOP Circuit at Harvey’s, the tournament series has attracted more than 2,000 entries and has awarded greater than $1 million in total prize money. Still to come are three more events and several satellite opportunities to enter the Main Event championship, which takes place Nov. 15-17.